“Just What Is It That Makes Today’s Homes So Different, So Appealing?
September 19th, 2011
Richard Hamilton, painter and collage artist, passed away at the age of 89 on September 13, 2011 at an undisclosed location in Britain.
Hamilton created one of the world’s most iconic images of art Just what is it that makes today’s homes so different, so appealing? (1956) seen above. The work was originally created for an exhibition catalog This is Tomorrow and was printed in black and white. Since then many artists have reworked the subject and created their own updated, modern interpretations.
Through out his life, Hamilton was often referred to as the“Father of Pop Art” and was recognized as the creator of Pop Art through his use of commercial and pop culture imageries. Since the 1960s, Hamilton has had numerous international exhibitions and major retrospectives organized by Tate Gallery in London and the Guggenheim Museum in New York. He was also the representative for Great Britain’s pavilion in the 1993 Venice Biennale and was awarded the prestigious Golden Lion.
According to a spokesperson from Gagosian Gallery, who represented Hamilton, a few days prior to his death, Hamilton was still working on a travelling major retrospective for 2013-14. Today his iconic work Just what is it that makes today’s homes so different, so appealing? can be seen at Kunsthalle Tübingen in Germany.
Image credit: Richard Hamilton, Just what is it that makes today’s homes so different, so appealing?, 1956.
The collage consists of images taken mainly from American magazines. The principal template was an image of a modern sitting-room in an advertisement in Ladies Home Journal for Armstrong Floors, which describes the “modern fashion in floors”. The title is also taken from copy in the advert, which states “Just what is it that makes today’s homes so different, so appealing? Open planning of course – and a bold use of color.” The body builder is Irwin ‘Zabo’ Koszewski, winner of Mr L.A. in 1954. The photograph is taken from Tomorrow’s Man magazine, September 1954. The artist Jo Baer, who posed for erotic magazines in her youth, has stated that she is the burlesque woman on the sofa, but the magazine from which the picture is taken has not been identified. The staircase is taken from an advertisement for Hoover‘s new model “Constellation“,and it was sourced from the same issue of Ladies Home Journal, June 1955, as the Armstrong Floors ad. The picture of the cover of Young Romance was from an advertisement for the magazine included in its sister-publication Young Love (no 15, 1950). The TV is a Stromberg-Carlson, taken from a 1955 advert. Hamilton asserted that the rug was a blow-up from a photograph depicting a crowd on the Whitley Bay beach, but this cannot be confirmed. The image of planet Earth at the top was cut from Life Magazine (Sept 1955). The original reference image for the collage from Life Magazine supplied to Hamilton is in the John McHale archives at Yale University. It was one of the first images to be laid down in the collage. The Victorian man in the portrait has not been identified. The periodical on the chair is a copy of The Journal of Commerce, founded by telegraph pioneer Samuel F. B. Morse. The tape recorder is a British-made Boosey & Hawkes “Reporter”, but the source of the image has not been identified. The view through the window is a widely reproduced photograph of the exterior of a cinema in 1927 showing the premiere of the early “talkie” film, The Jazz Singer starring Al Jolson.